By the Sweat of Our Brows - Sept 14, 2019


Contact: Marie Cheek, Community Relations Coordinator Culture & Heritage Museums 803.818.6767

"By the Sweat of Our Brows: Family Traditions from the Plantation to Empowerment"

Descendants of Historic Brattonsville’s African American community share their family stories and favorite pastimes

McCONNELLS, S.C. - “By the Sweat of Our Brows” is an annual award-winning program where descendants of the African American community at Brattonsville come together to honor their culture. This year’s program expands to reflect on lifestyles in the century following Emancipation. An array of activities is scheduled for Sat. Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a special bus tour is planned for Sun. Sept. 15 departing the site at 1 p.m.

By the Sweat of Our Brows will commence with the traditional ‘Calling of the Names’ heralding the news of freedom for African Americans enslaved on the plantation at the time of Emancipation. Throughout the day, descendants of Brattonsville’s African American community gather on the lawn of the Homestead House to showcase family memorabilia, share stories and present educational programing. Margaret Parson-Willins will recount her involvement in the local Civil Rights movement. Wali Cathcart, a former professional Negro League ballplayer, will recall how playing ball fostered a sense of community while growing up in the segregated south.

Speaking of baseball, and in the spirit of favorite American pastimes, two ballgames will be played on Saturday at Brattonsville. Bring a glove and join in; open to all ages, ballgames are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Living-history interpreters will be at various structures, including the original cabins and field houses, throughout the site portraying what life was like at Brattonsville from the 19th century through the 1950s. Demonstrations of historical activities, including games, traditional foodways and agricultural practices, will be ongoing.

Kenny Liles Fish Fry will provide food available for purchase.

Special bus tour on Sunday, Sept. 15 from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. On Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m., meet at Historic Brattonsville for a bus ride to Allison Creek Presbyterian Church. Descendants will be your tour guides and continue sharing family stories and local African American history during the ride. Once at the church, tours will be given of the African American cemetery; there’ll be discussions of the church's role in the Reconstruction era and live music from a jazz ensemble.

“By the Sweat of Our Brows” WHEN: Sat. Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. with special church tour on Sun., Sept. 9 from 1 – 3:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Historic Brattonsville, 1444 Brattonsville Road, McConnells, S.C. 29726

ADMISSION: Adults $8, Seniors $7, Youth $5, CHM members & ages 3 and under FREE. Participants who attend Saturday’s “By the Sweat of Our Brows” can sign-up for Sunday’s bus tour for a $4 additional fee. Otherwise, general site admission will get you on the bus.

For more information, call 803.684.2327 or visit

Historic Brattonsville is included in “The Green Book of South Carolina” - a travel guide to significant African American heritage and cultural destinations across the state. Learn more:

IMAGES: 1. Wali Cathcart, a Brattonsville descendant who is actively involved in the site’s programming, was a professional player in the Negro Baseball Leagues and loves to talk baseball. Photo courtesy of Christopher Cathcart. 2. The Calling of the Names from the front porch of the Homestead House. Photo taken during a previous “By the Sweat of Our Brows” event; courtesy of CHM. For high resolution images contact Marie Cheek


AWARD WINNING PROJECT: South Carolina African American Heritage Commission recognizes “By the Sweat of Our Brows” as a project that significantly and dramatically influences in a permanent way the preservation and interpretation of African American history and culture in S.C. The Commission’s Project Award was presented to York County’s Culture and Heritage Museums on behalf of “By the Sweat of Our Brows” at the South Carolina Archives & History Center in Columbia on March 28, 2014.

ABOUT HISTORIC BRATTONSVILLE: Historic Brattonsville features over thirty colonial and antebellum structures, including two house museums. The plantation spreads over 800-acres and includes farmed land with heritage breed animals, a Revolutionary War battlefield site with interpretive trail, and a nature preserve with miles of walking trails. Seasonal events, reenactments, and living history programs interpret life in the Carolina Backcountry from the 1750s to the 1850s. Learn more at GENERAL HOURS of OPERATION: Tues – Sat: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday: 1 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Closed on Mondays.

ABOUT CULTURE & HERITAGE MUSEUMS: Culture & Heritage Museums is a family of museums in York County, S.C., which includes Historic Brattonsville, Main Street Children’s Museum, McCelvey Center, and Museum of York County. The mission of Culture and Heritage Museums is to communicate and preserve the natural and cultural histories of the Carolina Piedmont, inspiring a lifetime of learning. Culture & Heritage Museums is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Affiliate. ###